TUI Travel CEO hopes for rain but sees a clear 2013

Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:13am EST

The logo of German tourism group TUI AG, owner of Europe's largest travel company TUI Travel, is pictured on a computer screen through sunglasses in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

The logo of German tourism group TUI AG, owner of Europe's largest travel company TUI Travel, is pictured on a computer screen through sunglasses in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny May 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Valentin Flauraud

(Reuters.com) - TUI Travel, Europe's largest tour operator, is looking forward to a year without any major disruptions and its chief executive is even crossing his fingers for more rain.

"For a change, when I look at 2013 there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of negatives on the horizon," Peter Long said in a video statement on the group's website.

He highlighted the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano, Greece's economic woes and the North African uprisings as issues that resulted in falling bookings and extra costs for tour operators last year.

But some bad weather, such as in the UK where 2012 was the second wettest year on record, would help the travel industry, he said.

"It makes people feel miserable and the only answer is to book a holiday and get the hell out of here," Long said. "The ingredients for us as an industry are excellent."

On the subject of UK consumer spending, Long said it was up to companies to find the right business model and sales channels.

"Some organisations and consumer businesses are doing well, some poorly. You can't just say customers aren't spending. But they are being selective, looking for value and prioritising what they spend their money on," he said.

TUI Travel is majority owned by Germany's TUI AG (TUIGn.DE).

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, Editing by Peter Myers)